Lawyer, Lawyer (1997)
Director: Joe Ma
Set in Canton in 1899, Stephen Chow plays lawyer Chan Mon-gut, who likes playing nasty jokes on people more than actually being a lawyer. When we first meet him he is playing a prank on the King of Beggars that leads to a stand off at his house. He manages to drive them off, only to keep playing tricks on them out in the countryside.
He even likes to play pranks on his assistant Ho Foon (Eric Kot), who has a crush on a puppeteer Lotus Shui (Chingmy Yau). In a scene that is regarded as one of the sickest in any Stephen Chow movie, Chan sets up a series of several rooms in his house, a trap door and a pig’s tongue. What he doesn’t count on is his wife (Karen Mok) coming home early from studying in England and he ends up being trapped himself.
Of course, Ho Foon eventually gets sick of the treatment he gets from Chan, and ends up punching him in the nose and running off to Hong Kong. Around this time a shadowy plot is revealed that ends up with Ho Foon being framed for murder. He asks for Chan’s help, but since the English have recently taken over there is a new legal system he is not familiar with. Will he succeed this time or not?
I had been warned that this movie was not one of Stephen Chow’s best, but I was still disappointed as to how much they don’t seem to be trying with this one. Most of the humour seems to rely on the sick jokes in the script and bathroom humour. The story is also fairly weak and not up to his usual standard.
I also thought this movie suffered by not having enough screen time for Stephen Chow’s character towards the end. Ho Foon is funny, but he doesn’t really get many funny lines and just seems to get beaten up all the time.
Karen Mok didn’t really have the chance to do much in this movie except be a doting wife. If you have seen her in the brilliant God of Cookery (1996), you will know how funny she can be if she is given the right role.
Even if you are a big fan of Stephen Chow, I would probably put this movie somewhere near the bottom of your list to watch. Justice, My Foot! and Hail The Judge are better movies to watch if you want to see Stephen Chow play a lawyer or a magistrate in a period setting.
This movie is also available as part of the Stephen Chow Collection: Period/Fantasy.